An new article on a American statesman and free thinker who has almost been forgotten, A New Birth of Reason
Ingersoll emerged as the leading figure in what historians of American secularism consider the golden age of freethought—an era when immigration, industrialization, and science, especially Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection, were challenging both religious orthodoxy and the supposedly simpler values of the nation’s rural Anglo-Saxon past. That things were never really so simple was the message Ingersoll repeatedly conveyed as he spoke before more of his countrymen than even elected public leaders, including presidents, did at a time when lectures were both a form of mass entertainment and a vital source of information.
Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899)
Ingersoll was something of an oratory rock-star in his day commanding a dollar a ticket to his sold out lectures. According to one on-line calculator that would be about $15 a ticket in today’s dollars. This is from an essay by Ingersoll, Art And Morality by Robert G. Ingersoll. North American Review, March. 1888.
Actions are deemed right or wrong, according to experience and the conclusions of reason. Things are beautiful by the relation that certain forms, colors, and modes of expression bear to us. At the foundation of the beautiful will be found the fact of happiness, the gratification of the senses, the delight of intellectual discovery and the surprise and thrill of appreciation. That which we call the beautiful, wakens into life through the association of ideas, of memories, of experiences, of suggestions of pleasure past and the perception that the prophecies of the ideal have been and will be fulfilled.
Art cultivates and kindles the imagination, and quickens the conscience. It is by imagination that we put ourselves in the place of another. When the whigs of that faculty are folded, the master does not put himself in the place of the slave; the tyrant is not locked in the dungeon, chained with his victim. The inquisitor did not feel the flames that devoured the martyr. The imaginative man, giving to the beggar, gives to himself. Those who feel indignant at the perpetration of wrong, feel for the instant that they are the victims; and when they attack the aggressor they feel that they are defending themselves. Love and pity are the children of the imagination.
The Dancing Couple, Jan Steen, 1663. Oil on canvas. ” Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13
Why can’t people stop acting like jackasses, Abusive partners can sabotage contraception
When a husband hides a wife’s birth control pills or a boyfriend takes off a condom in the middle of sex in hopes of getting an unwilling girlfriend pregnant, that’s a form of abuse called reproductive coercion.
While researchers don’t know exactly how common such coercion is, it’s common enough – especially among women who are abused by their partners in other ways – that health care providers should screen women for signs at regular check-ups and pregnancy visits, says the nation’s leading group of obstetricians and gynecologists.
“We want to make sure that health care providers are aware that this is something that does go on and that it’s a form of abuse,” says Veronica Gillispie, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, and a member of the committee that wrote the opinion for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It’s published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, out today.
Reproductive coercion occurs whenever a partner tries to prevent a woman from making her own choices about pregnancy, Gillispie says. That includes trying to get a woman pregnant against her will, through forced sex or other means; it also includes using pressure or threats to get a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy or end a wanted one.
In studies cited by the committee, “birth control sabotage” was reported by 25% of teen girls with abusive partners and by 15% of women who were physically abused. Some men go as far as to pull out a woman’s intrauterine device (IUD) or vaginal contraceptive ring, the committee says.